The idea of shared renewable energy is now coming to fruition for the first time in the state of New York.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York State Department of Public Service (DPS), EnterSolar, and Clean Energy Collective (CEC) have announced construction is underway on the first Shared Renewables community solar project in New York State.
As reported by Solar Power World, this project mirrors Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goals for the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy of building a clean and affordable energy system, making clean energy a possible choice for more state residents. The success of REV depends on communities taking charge of their own energy as New York increases the growth of electricity generation at customer sites to supplement power generated at central power plants.
This announcement was made at the groundbreaking for the project in at the Halfmoon Community Solar Project. The site will feed solar energy to the grid operated by New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) and will supply more than 100 residential customers in NYSEG’s Capital Region territory. Low-income residents will be allowed to participate in local clean power generation.
In league with existing rooftop solar owners, under New York’s Shared Renewables Program, residents can purchase individual solar panels in the Halfmoon array and receive credits for the power production directly on their monthly electric bills, as if the panels were located on their own roof. The Halfmoon project specifically targets renters, homeowners and low-income residents.
Spreading out renewables revenues
Proposed in Governor Cuomo’s 2015 State of Opportunity Agenda, the Shared Renewables Program provides opportunities for renters, homeowners, low-income residents, schools and businesses to join together to set up shared renewable energy projects resulting in healthier and stronger communities.
In a statement, John B. Rhodes, NYSERDA president and CEO, said, “This first-in-the-State Shared Renewables solar project advances Governor Cuomo’s energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure New Yorkers have access to clean, affordable, locally produced power.”
Audrey Zibelman, CEO, New York State Department of Public Service, said, “Shared Renewables is just one of several REV initiatives that will expand consumer access to reliable, low-cost electricity, giving everyone — from rural homeowners to apartment renters in the city — an opportunity to share in the benefits of clean, solar power.”
The Halfmoon project is scheduled for completion by late summer. It will feature a solar array containing more than 1,700 panels on Cary Road in the Town of Halfmoon. EnterSolar is slated as the project developer, and CEC is providing the community solar solution, called RooflessSolar.
The solar installation is expected to generate an estimated 741,230 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This total is the equivalent of powering 103 average-sized homes in New York. On the plus side, these solar panels will offset 210 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents annually, which is comparable to taking 44 cars off the road.
Susan Cotner, executive director of Affordable Housing Partnership, said, “Helping low-income families save money on their electric bills, while supporting local clean energy, is a new and valuable tool in our mission to strengthen neighborhoods and help residents achieve financial independence.”
The project received funding through Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY Sun initiative.
Image via Shutterstock
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